Love for Sale
(O Céu de Suely)
© 2007 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  
          As Thomas Wolfe so famously pointed out, you can't go home again, as
  Hermina (Hermina Guedes), the heroine of Karim Aïnouz's sophomore
  feature,
LOVE FOR SALE (O CÉU DE SUELY), discovers. At 21, she is
  already a wife and mother and she has ventured back to her hometown of
  Iguatu in Brazil's Northeast with the son in tow. Ostensibly, she is visiting her
  grandmother and aunt while awaiting the arrival of her husband from São Paulo.
  It become very obvious, though, that her spouse is not coming. Left to her
  own devices, Hermina has to figure out what to do.

          To support herself and her child, she sells raffle tickets for things like a
  bottle of whiskey. One of her childhood friends, Georgina (Georgina Castro)
  has become a prostitute and Hermina briefly toys with that idea, before hitting
  on a better plan. She will stage a raffle in which she is the prize. Promising one
  night of paradise to the winner and calling herself "Suely," she sets off on the
  venture. Her ultimate goal is to get enough money to leave town and start
  afresh.

          There are several things that Hermina had not counted on, though,
  including the attentions of João (João Miguel), who has long harbored
  feelings for her, and the morality of the locals who looks askance at the
  women plying their trade but object to a raffle, in particular her own
  grandmother.

          
LOVE FOR SALE unfolds slowly and there are some tangential moments
  that the filmmaker includes that merely pad out the running time. Guedas,
  though, proves to be a very strong performer, holding the screen and making
  the audience care about her character, whose inchoate yearnings are
  sometimes mystifyingly obtuse. The audience never finds out why she wants
  to flee the town, even though she has the potential for a stable relationship
  with João. Still, the film succeeds more often than it fails and it does feature
  some stunning cinematography by Walter Carvalho (whose previous credits
  include
CENTRAL STATION and CARANDIRÚ).


                          
Rating:         B-
Hermila Guedes as
Hermila in
LOVE FOR SALE

Directed by
Karim Aïnouz,
Brazil/France/Germany,
2006; 90m

Photo Credit: Strand
Releasing